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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Party of Doom

Republicans are less than enthused about the coming elections. A big portion of the reason for this is widely expected massive losses in the House and Senate. After the GOP took both houses of Congress, they became bogged down by scandals dealing with corruption and hypocrisy. It seemed that the party that would save America from the Homosexual Menace was hanging around men's rooms, looking for dates, while the party of good, limited government was expanding that government and selling it all off to the highest bidder. It's become cliche to say that the Republican brand is tarnished.

The one hope the GOP has is in the presidential election. And, even there, the prospects aren't good. Depending on which poll you believe, John McCain is behind or only slightly ahead -- with most polls showing he's behind, as he has been since this became a de facto two person race. In what seems to be the unlikely chance that McCain is elected, most expect him to serve only one term. He's simply too old for two terms. This means that the Republican candidate would be a lame duck from day one, with an overwhelmingly Democratic House and Senate. The idea that John McCain would be able to accomplish much is a little bit of a joke.

Which might go part of the way toward explaining Republican attitudes toward their candidate -- a party in a four year holding pattern with a White House in suspended animation really isn't all that appealing. So panic is the word of the day.

It's a hallmark of mass panic that it's accompanied by mass stupidity. Some Native American tribes used to hunt buffalo by freaking them all out and chasing them off a cliff. The blind idiocy that accompanies panic can be as deadly as the cause of the panic.

So now, faced with not just the prospect of a President Obama, but also with the possibility of a likely lame duck McCain, the right is beginning to panic. For once, people are starting to worry about the vice presidential slot, since it's most likely that this guy will run the next time around.

And that's what's panicking them even more than four years trapped in ice. The opinion makers on the right -- who'd done everything within their power to keep McCain from becoming the nominee -- are freaking out about McCain's unknown running mate. Rumor has it that McCain's potential VP pick might, possibly, theoretically, hypothetically, be pro-choice.

No real big surprise. You've got Joe Lieberman, former head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and Rudy Giuliani as possible choices. But the possibility is bad enough. The time has come to freak the hell out.

The Carpetbagger Report:

The drive-bys are just hoping for this. They are just hoping for it because they know it’s not just a few loud mouths in the base. They know the base will totally turn on McCain if this is the case… it’s about trying to persuade McCain to make a decision that will ensure his defeat.

How about someone like Rick Santorum other than Tom Ridge? How about some discussion from the McCain campaign about a conservative who can be counted on across the board, who can help lead the country in the right direction.

...If he picks a pro-choice running mate, it’s not going to be pretty… If the McCain camp does that, they will have effectively destroyed the Republican Party and put the conservative movement in the bleachers.

That's a quote from professional blowhard Rush Limbaugh. If John McCain chooses a pro-choice running mate -- effectively choosing a pro-choice 2012 GOP candidate -- the Republican party is doomed!


This isn't the first time Limbaugh had predicted the sun setting on his party, though. It sort of undercuts his case and his credibility as a swami that the GOP isn't dead right now.

In January, Limbaugh told a caller, "I'm here to tell you, if either [McCain or Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party, it's going to change it forever, be the end of it. A lot of people aren't going to vote. You watch." Dang it, now he went and did it. The GOP is already screwed.

And this wasn't the only time Limbaugh had predicted death for the Republican Party in relation to McCain. In February, Limbaugh said that McCain was trying to destroy the GOP. "This is how he's going to get even with Republicans for defeating him in South Carolina in 2000..." Rush screeched. "It's pro-choicers who are voting for McCain. That's who liberals are!"

One of the perks of being a right wing talk radio guy is that your audience has the memory of a goldfish. All those fools who are hanging on Limbaugh's every word don't actually remember what those words have been in the past. Maybe that's why they keep tuning in -- they can't remember what they're supposed to be panicked over this week. Rush Limbaugh is their Post-It note for outrage.

McCain won, the Republican party wasn't destroyed -- at least, not because of McCain. And Limbaugh shows off what a stupid, stupid man he is by suggesting RIck Santorum -- a pro-life zealot and one of the first victims of the Democratic '06 landslide. If I got to choose McCain's running mate and Larry Craig wasn't available, I'd choose Santorum too. He's defeat in a bottle.

Republicans' problem is that they don't seem to realize that both parties in a two party system are coalition parties. And, from these coalition candidates, they demand some weird kind of hybrid purity. Everyone thinks their little faction of the GOP coalition are the real Republicans and everyone else is lucky to be allowed in at all. The religious right demand that a candidate be their own special brand of insane, the military worshippers and authoritarians demand that tough father they crave, and the fiscal conservatives don't give a damn about anything other than who'll spend the least money. And each faction points at the other ones and screams "Republican in name only!"

As a result, the Republican candidate tends to be the most skilled liar. They can't possibly be all things to all Republicans, but they sure manage to convince them they are. The candidate who's not popular with the base (which is actually an amalgam of bases) is faced with the charge of dooming the party by chasing away that core constituency that every Republican, regardless of ideology, believes they belong to.

McCain, not being as skilled a liar as Bush, invites this civil war in check that's always present in the GOP. Yes, McCain gets away with a lot of whoppers, but he's nothing like the soulless projection that is George W. Bush. And McCain's lack of lying expertise is what has cost him so far.

Limbaugh wasn't the only one out there completely wet-your-pants panicked by the prospect of nominee McCain. Swift Boat liar, professional propagandist, and current attack dog on behalf of McCain Jerome Corsi had some insane attacks on John himself. Currently known as the author of an anti-Obama book of lies, Corsi was also the author of a string of anti-McCain hit pieces for the right wing nutjob site WorldNetDaily:

Group tied to al-Qaida backs McCain for prez

McCain fortune traced to organized crime

Influence peddling claims dog McCain

John McCain funded by Soros since 2001

McCain aide touts 'Mexico first' policy

I'm waiting for some reporter to ask McCain about Corsi's Obama book, then bring up these articles as a follow up. But I'm not holding my breath.

All of this adds up to one point; McCain's support is weak, weak, weak. He's got the military lovers and authoritarians, but the fetus worshippers and the "government can't spend a dime" types remain unenthused. When November rolls around and it's time to get out the vote, McCain could be looking at a lot of no shows.

It's not McCain's running mate choice that's going to be the problem. In fact, it won't even be McCain. It'll be the fault of a bunch of morons looking for ideological purity who couldn't manage to nominate a convincing enough liar.